An Auckland man has been convicted for swiping the luggage of a French holiday-maker who was grabbing 40 winks before his long-haul flight.

Christopher Robin Matenga arrived at Auckland Airport just before midnight on April 13.

A police summary of his offending, released to APNZ, says Matenga "was not travelling and had no legitimate reason for being there".

The unemployed 53-year-old from Titirangi made his way to the international terminal's viewing areas and slept on a bench.


Early on April 14, French tourist Ludovic Antoine arrived at the airport about to leave New Zealand after a holiday.

He made his way to the same viewing area and fell asleep on the bench next to Matenga, leaving his luggage on a trolley beside him as he dozed.

Just after 7am Matenga awoke and walked away with Mr Antoine's backpack, which contained personal items worth $950.

"When spoken to the defendant was in possession of a number of the items from the bag and he admitted the offence," the summary says.

Matenga told police he went to the airport because he thought his ex-partner was arriving there and he wanted to greet her. He said he stole the bag because he had the "opportunity" to do so.

In the Manukau District Court last month Matenga, who has a lengthy criminal history dating back to the late 1970s, admitted a charge of theft.

He was convicted and sentenced to 200 hours' community work.